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Bungle In The Jungle

Being a Vietnam vet during the last days of American ground troops what I saw mostly was a job almost done. I was positioned on different artillery firebases along the north and central coastal areas, the land in control by the Americans and the South Vietnamese. Though the spring offensive of 1972 spearheaded toward us from the north and out west toward the ARVN the American firepower did halt the advance. Then they left us alone so we would leave. Later, watching the fall of Saigon, I wondered how they had bungled this war.

I have never been a world traveler since and my world view has been from an armchair. What I have experienced is the cost of everything takes most of my average paycheck. What I have seen and read is that it seems that men have become richer than what they need to be and people poorer that what they ought to be. And that war has never ceased.

I have also never been a policy maker nor ever will be but the events of 9/11 made me wonder again how they let this happened. There had been the known threats and the earlier Trade Center bombing; like the military high command ignoring the signs coming from the field of the buildup to the Tet offensive. I am also old enough to know that mistakes can still be made and that human error can shape event but at this scale I think I know what my parent’s generation felt after Pearl Harbor; vulnerable.

Yet from the start the reaction to Afghanistan was directed for the enemy that caused the slaughter of the innocents and the speed of the takeover astounding. In my eyes and of the world America had the right to go into that country and aim for the terrorists. Unfortunately we are dealing with a well trained force that for a decade hid from a large Russian army.

The switch to Iraq surprised me and most of my acquaintances for this looked to be an expansion more than a hunt. But what King George, Haliburton Cheney, and Quickdraw Rumsfield have wrought cannot be undone. Now is not the time to quit, as I remember my own tour, we should stay for the final peace this time and not forget who we really need to bring to justice.

Again I was never a commander nor carried much rank but I do know that generals have to follow orders. Sending thousands of more troops over to Iraq by these civilian men who never endured a tour or two, much less extending for three or four, appears to exhaust our resources to be able to carry out the original mission. But with Gates own admission about sending them instead to Afghanistan this may steer back the course.

As I see from the perspective of an old foot soldier the current crop growing for the run to be the next president wouldn’t make much of a military difference. Since we are in the thick of countries, and not just one, what the generals need is another general. That is why my two cents, my vote, the right that is the basis of all freedom, will go hopefully for Colin Powell.

Submitted by:

Steve May

http://www.altoya.squarespace.com




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